Picking up the pieces, and making them whole.
The average age of a child at CAMME is around nine. In their short life, a child of nine growing up in Goma has been the witness to two civil wars, a volcanic explosion obliterating their home, endless poverty, and more. Older children at the center may remember the Rwandan genocide of 1994, when hundreds of thousands of desperate refugees swept across the border into their homes. Any one of these events is one too many, and too many children have endured all of them, losing their families and ending up living on the street.
That these sorts of events are traumatizing is beyond dispute; children’s lives are shattered. At CAMME, Social Services staff members work to put the pieces of broken lives back together.
The first step for children arriving at CAMME is a meeting with the Social Services team. Staff members evaluate the child, and if necessary, place him or her in remedial literacy classes. Children are then referred to the health staff for medical treatment, and work with the staff to determine if individual therapy sessions are necessary. Staff then work with children to reintegrate them with their family members if they can be found, and they offer an appropriate environment; if this is not the case, CAMME places children in foster care, a better alternative to life on the street.
Following this, children work with the Social Services to select a program track: carpentry, sewing, mechanics, or photography. As they pursue their courses, they continue to receive lessons in health and hygiene, social responsibility, and their rights. They also have the opportunity to play in organized volleyball, soccer, and other tournaments. In doing this, children at CAMME focus on the whole person, pursuing a future free of exploitation, maximizing their potential, and most importantly, helping themselves.